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Thread: Developing 5x7 B&W+ and need some direction...

  1. #1
    Les
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    Developing 5x7 B&W+ and need some direction...

    Urrr, probably making a total mess in the bathroom, as well. Intend to use FP4, HP5 and either Delta 100 or Foma 100. I keep hearing good things about HC-110. What else would you recommend with the above emulsions ?...out of D-76, Xtol and Adox (no idea which one)....and perhaps there is a personal favorite ? The intent is to do "taco" development, tho eventually I'd like to go with dip-dunk method.

    For time being I'd like to see the results via contact printing. It appears that Dektol or PQ developers are generally recommended. I've used the former back in early 70's (35mm).

    Anyway, any additional and helpful nuances in performing this endeavor would be appreciated.

    Les

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    Developing 5x7 B&W+ and need some direction...

    Classic combinations, all of them. Would personally opt for HP5+ and HC110.

    Haven't used Delta 100, but reportedly needs precise exposure.

    HP5 instead has a useful latitude for LF. The somewhat larger grain should not bother in LF.

    Also, liquid concentrates like HC110 are somewhat easier to handle (no storage of stock solution). All developers listed will yield good quality with your films listed.

    Same for positive developers - from my experience, it is more important to get started. Two evenings spent in the darkroom will yield more experience than two weeks spent in the internet :-)

    Enjoy,
    Lars

  3. #3

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    Re: Developing 5x7 B&W+ and need some direction...

    you are on the right path with the developers and films, (classics) but ditch the taco method and go strait to dip and dunk.the rest of your knowledge is up to your practice and studies,,have fun...

  4. #4

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    Re: Developing 5x7 B&W+ and need some direction...

    I shuffle. Just have to get used to it. Simple approach. Take off the one off the bottom and sink it on the top. Keep the stack neat with the other hand so you won't scratch with a corner. 8X10 tray for the dev for 5X7, then 5X7 trays after that. 4X5 probably OK in 5X7 all the way. (Get trays with no burrs in them.) Shooting FP4 and HP5. Presoak and then into the dev. Was using Xtol 1:1 and liked it but now using Pyrocat which I think I like better. Using gloves with the pyro which was a new trick. Hangers seemed to give surge marks, but it has been a long time. You'll find something you like, but I like simple.

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  5. #5

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    Re: Developing 5x7 B&W+ and need some direction...

    The best way to develop sheet films in small numbers is to use a uniroller with a unicolor drum. See the link below, you do not need those clips. No shuffling, no darkness.

    http://www.largeformatphotography.info/unicolor/

  6. #6

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    Re: Developing 5x7 B&W+ and need some direction...

    There's the line. Dev at the top, stop in the middle, fix on the bottom. I usually raise the dev tray so I can reach it better, plus tilt it with stirring rod so that the end with the film is a little deeper. Good luck with whatever process you chose!

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  7. #7

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    Re: Developing 5x7 B&W+ and need some direction...

    Quote Originally Posted by diversey View Post
    The best way to develop sheet films in small numbers is to use a uniroller with a unicolor drum. See the link below, you do not need those clips. No shuffling, no darkness.

    http://www.largeformatphotography.info/unicolor/
    Is it me or the page is a bit confused about which drum to use? Flat or with ribs?

  8. #8

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    Re: Developing 5x7 B&W+ and need some direction...

    You can also use Jobo paper drums - 2830 and larger - on a rotary base (or indeed just rolling it on your table - that's what I've been using for some years now without any trouble.
    As for developers - I mostly use Pyrocat for my LF negs, my 2nd favourite option (especially for HP5+) is Spur SLD.
    Website of sorts, as well as flickr thing.

  9. #9

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    Re: Developing 5x7 B&W+ and need some direction...

    As you might be gathering...there are many options! There is no "best way" to process film - beyond doing whatever you need to ensure you are able to maximize the attributes of your film of choice as well as that of your own vision for a particular image.

    To chime in...for 5x7 I've been using FP4+ and Delta 100 about equally, and Pyrocat HD in glycol pretty much exclusively with both emulsions. Works for me and keeps things simple - as I find that Pyrocat offers high acuity, and good flexibility in terms of times, temps. and agitation techniques, allowing me to more or less match a given batch of (usually six) negatives to whatever "look" I'm wanting to achieve. Pyrocat is also very cost effective, and the glycol formulation offers a great shelf life which translates to good consistency of results.

    I do find FP4+ to be a bit more forgiving than I do Delta 100, and FP4+ is generally always "in stock," while Delta 100 is only available on special order. I wanted to try Delta 100 for its supposed finer grain, thinking that this would be a good choice for printing to 20x30 inches and larger...but I'm finding the differences in grain size to be minimal.

    My current processing routine consists of a three minute presoak in a single, 8x10 tray. I add a few drops of photo-flo to my presoak, and find that the added lubricity helps to minimize scratching, as I slowly shuffle through the stack of film. I then transfer my films, one by one and face up, into (typically six) individual 5x7 inch trays (each with 10oz. developer), which have been placed into a single, 20x24 inch tray - and simply tilt this large tray top to bottom and side to side in whatever time sequence is indicated for a particular batch of film. While such a routine using individual trays might be logistically a bit more involved than shuffling through a single tray of developer, I find the visible improvements in consistency to make this worthwhile.

    At any rate, after development, the films go into a single tray of a very weak stop bath (3x weaker than the "recommended" dilution) followed by a water bath prior to five minutes in TF-4 fixer. The weak acidic bath ensures that development is halted, while the following water bath brings the PH back up a bit to help protect the alkaline fixer, thus helping to preserve the staining attributes of the Pyrocat developer. Finally, the films go into a twenty minute water wash, ending with a bit of photo-flo prior to being hung in a film-drying cabinet.

    Again, the above...after many years of using different methods (tanks, shuffle, taco, etc.), is what currently works for me, although I do admit to being somewhat intrigued by a recent post regarding a new stainless steel reel and tank system. Generally, and for pyro-based developers especially, I prefer a routine which offers for an "interval of rest" during the developing step - instead of one which depends on continuous agitation. Again, this is what currently works for me, and other's mileage may vary. Good luck!

  10. #10

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    Re: Developing 5x7 B&W+ and need some direction...

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrea Gazzoni View Post
    Is it me or the page is a bit confused about which drum to use? Flat or with ribs?
    Use the one with ribs.

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